Workers at Larch Corrections Center have either found new employment or have been laid off following an appeals court ruling that denied a stay of layoffs last week.
On Oct. 18, the Washington Court of Appeals denied a motion by the Teamsters Local 117 to prevent the layoffs from happening. The union, which represents 6,000 corrections workers in Washington State, had appealed a decision in Clark County Superior Court about a week prior after a lawsuit they filed against the Washington State Department of Corrections couldn’t move forward. The union alleged violations of its collective bargaining agreement, as well as unfair labor practices.
Those allegations stemmed from the June 26 decision by the department to close Larch.
“The Court’s decision does not change the fact that the DOC acted inexcusably without input from labor, community, and other affected stakeholders to close a model facility,” Teamsters Local 117 Director of Correction and Law Enforcement Sarena Davis said in a statement.
Since the announcement of the decision to close, representatives of local and state governments have made public statements opposing the closure, citing the facility’s part in fighting wildfires with state Department of Natural Resources-trained inmates, among other benefits to the community.